Osteoporosis International

, Volume 18, Issue 9, pp 1225–1233

Effect of seasonality and weather on fracture risk in individuals 65 years and older

  • H. A. Bischoff-Ferrari
  • J. E. Orav
  • J. A. Barrett
  • J. A. Baron
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00198-007-0364-6

Cite this article as:
Bischoff-Ferrari, H.A., Orav, J.E., Barrett, J.A. et al. Osteoporos Int (2007) 18: 1225. doi:10.1007/s00198-007-0364-6



In this large population-based study, fracture rates for hips, distal forearms, proximal humeri, and ankles were higher in winter than in other seasons, although the winter peak was small for hip fractures (p < 0.05 at all sites). Younger age between 65 and 80, living in warmer states and male gender were associated with increased winter morbidity due to fractures.


The objective was to investigate seasonal variation in the incidence of four common fractures, and explore the association of weather with risk.


Population-based analysis of individuals age 65 and older, including fractures of the hip, the distal forearm, the proximal humerus and the ankle. Weather information was obtained from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website.


For all fractures, rates were highest in winter and lowest in summer (p < 0.05 at all sites). Winter peaks were more pronounced in warm climate states, in men, and in those younger than 80 years old. In winter, total snowfall was associated with a reduced risk of hip fracture (−5% per 20 inches) but an increased risk of non-hip fractures (6–12%; p < 0.05 at all sites). In summer, hip fracture risk tended to be lower during sunny weather (− 3% per 2 weeks of sunny days; p = 0.13), while other fractures were increased (15%–20%; p < 0.05) in sunny weather.


Fractures contribute considerably to winter morbidity in older individuals. Younger age between 65 and 80, living in warmer states and male gender are risk factors for increased winter morbidity due to fractures. Weather affects hip fracture risk differently than the other fractures studied.


Elderly Fracture risk Race/ethnicity Seasonality Weather 

Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. A. Bischoff-Ferrari
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. E. Orav
    • 3
    • 4
  • J. A. Barrett
    • 5
  • J. A. Baron
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Rheumatology and Institute of Physical MedicineUniversity Hospital ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of NutritionHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Clinical EpidemiologyHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of BiostatisticsHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Medicine and Department of Community and Family MedicineDartmouth Medical SchoolLebanonUSA

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